Mathew Kumar: The dog, obviously, is very important to the player. But I was interested in the processes you put into making the people of the world important to the player, as well.
PM: Right, yeah. That's interesting. With Fable 2, I've got my list. I always have a list of things that I think we kind of could have done better on. I wouldn't say we "failed" on, we could have done better on. I still think there's a long way [to go] with the people in the world.
One of the things we did with the people in the world, some of the small things, was to almost try and eradicate repeated dialogue, which is just really destroys that connection you've got with a world.
If you've got someone saying, "It's a nice day today, it's a nice day today, it's a nice day today," every two to three minutes...
Trying to eradicate that, trying to not make people sort of come into your face and demand your attention, but more feel like that if you sort of interrogated them, they were interested in you. So, there's still a lot more work to do here, I think.
MK: It's interesting because there was kind of a split between the mechanics of people interacting with the characters, but also when you wrote the story, there's a point obviously where they have to make the decision, right?
And the interesting fact is that when my girlfriend played through the game, she became very upset when she had that choice, and she made the decision to give up the person that was closest to her... Or rather she made the decision to save the world, essentially, rather than save the dog, obviously.
PM: That was a big decision, it really was.
MK: I noticed how other people were actually very affected by that choice, and even with what seems, to many people, to be such a limited mechanic, to do with the populace of the world.
PM: What's fascinating about it is that when we thought about good and evil, it's so tempting to say, "Well, good is saving lives, and evil is hurting lives and killing people." But actually, I think where the real emotion comes is when you really start testing people.
If I said to you, "Your family is over there. What would you do to save them?" "Well, I would do anything." "Really? Would you really do anything? Would you actually kill a thousand people to save your family? And what does that say about you?"
I think, finally, that decision made people think, because it forced them to think, "My goodness, my natural reaction is of course I'd save my family. Of course I would save the people I love." But actually, when it comes down to it, would you? Would you sacrifice everything for that very selfish act of having what you want? There are a lot of philosophical questions that come up in your mind when you're doing that.
MK: But that was what was amazing; the story made me question that. It's easy to just paste that on as a bunch of cutscenes, right?
PM: Yeah, yeah.
MK: The mechanics also helped. My girlfriend and I, we played separate games, obviously, to experience it. The example of her giving up the family to save the world was that, afterwards, she actually became quite upset because she realized she spent forever trying to find a particular... I think her son liked a toy sword.
PM: Yes, yes.
MK: And she realized she never got to give it to him.
PM: Oh, really? That's a fantastic story, yeah. See, that sort of stuff we never designed.
PM: You design it. The player designs that emotional connection between, you know, "I never got to give my son the sword." When that happens, that's a real emotional connection.